Tag Archive for 'calciatori'

Carlo Ancelotti humility

There is a lot of talk these days about Carlo Ancelotti’s leadership style and how he and the team, Real Madrid, came to this additional Champions League success. They had not started well at the beginning of the year, losing to Sheriff but then along the way, as underdogs they defeated Chelsea, PSG, Manchester City and Liverpool. He himself said that he told the president of Real Madrid, almost jokingly, that they would win La Liga and the Champions League. However, that is precisely what happened. Paolo Condò on Repubblica.it wrote that one explanation lies in the humility he showed by having the team play with a low defense against Liverpool, thus preventing the rushes the English team is famous for. Humility is certainly not a psychological dimension of leadership that is so well recognized and appreciated in sports, even more so when leading Real Madrid.

In fact, habitually traditional models of leadership place the leader at the top of the pyramid and demand that subordinates follow his directives. The leader who works in the service of the team, on the other hand, flips the pyramid and places himself at the base of the hierarchy. In such an environment, players are given clear job descriptions of their role, and the leader’s job is to “serve” or help them perform these tasks. This structure does not imply that the norms become permissive or that the leaders are the players. On the contrary, they are responsible for the effective execution of their roles. The end result, is a work environment in which relationships are cultivated, everyone is valued, standards are met, and team productivity is increased. Importantly, the intellectual humility, displayed by Ancelotti, is a way of maintaining one’s convictions with a studious attitude toward the next opponent and respect for players’ views. It also mitigates the negative effects of leader narcissism and promotes the commitment and active involvement of players.

Carlo Ancelotti is a coach who has won in every European team he has led, serving this approach centered on the involvement of the whole environment and to the care of interpersonal relationships. In doing so, he exalts and continually nurtures group values, understood as club principles and identity, team cohesion, and a sense of responsibility among players and staff. His key words are: educate, environment, spirit, responsibility, Club tradition, identity, relationships, work and compete.

This working style not new to him had already been well described 10 years ago in his book entitled “Il mio albero di Natale” (My Christmas Tree):

  1. Educating the team to pursue victory through offensive and creative play
  2. Foster the development of a positive work environment
  3. Building a strong team spirit by stimulating a high capacity for sacrifice and mutual commitment
  4. Fostering in each individual a sense of responsibility (evaluated on the basis of his or her actions and behaviors)
  5. Protect the tradition and principles of the club
  6. Working to provide continuity for the Club’s successes
  7. Compete for all major trophies
  8. Build a clear identity and style of play that takes into account the Club’s tradition
  9. Build good relationships among the various work teams


Change the players and maintain the team cohesion

Serie A teams have been active in the winter market, buying a total of 87 players, about 30 are destined to play leading roles. Salernitana and Genoa have changed at least six elevenths of the basic line-up: in Salerno, the new sporting director Sabatini has bought 11 players in 17 days, a whole team. In Samp, at least 4 new players have been brought in, Cagliari has renewed the entire defense. Juventus has revolutionized midfield and attack.

How can this approach of the clubs be combined with the knowledge we have about the role of team cohesion, a phenomenon that takes time to establish and consolidate. Let’s try to understand it starting from the fact that:

“In order to integrate competencies, it is necessary to distinguish between competency acquired through the experience of playing a particular sport and the experience of playing on a particular team. The importance of this distinction was highlighted by a study conducted in the tennis doubles … This research provided evidence that shared knowledge is important for team coordination and that one comes to share knowledge with other team members by playing that sport but also by playing on that particular team. Shared knowledge is also gained prior to a given game through explicit planning. Coaches routinely provide players with information about the team’s planned actions by communicating to them action plans for dealing with opponents. Planning can occur at different levels of team functioning … At the most general level, the desired outcomes are established, e.g., “win 2-0.” Planning at this level involves a decision about what outcome to pursue. At the next lower level, design refers to the general behavioral approach taken to manifest a particular attitude, such as “aggressive play,” and the decision about which design to employ is referred to as schema. Next, procedures constitute specific sequences of overall actions such as “attacking from the center.” Planning at this level involves a decision, called strategy, about which procedure(s) to employ. At the lowest level, operations constitute micro-level actions such as “player X should attempt, when possible, to pass to player Y”. A decision at this level about which operation to employ is called a tactic. While planning can occur at any level of abstraction, the design and that is the game plan involving only the higher levels places few constraints on how that plan of action might be implemented at the lower levels. For example, in soccer the design of “playing offense with high intensity” provides few specific constraints on moment-to-moment selections of players at the operational level during the game, allowing flexibility in the use of tactics to attack with high intensity” (From Alberto Cei, Fundamentals of Sport Psychology, 2021).

Psychology dominates in soccer, but not psychologists

There is a lot of talk about psychology in soccer and yesterday we heard Antonio Conte’s phrases on the anxiety of his players, Fonseca’s phrases on his team’s 20 minute blackout and Andrea Pirlo’s phrases on the winning mentality that Juventus must have. Some time ago Alessandro Costacurta had spoken about the emotional intelligence that should guide the players.

These phrases show how high is the sensitivity of this sport world on psychology, but the question is that they are less than the fingers of one hand those who work in a soccer club. Who deals with it in the team?The coach is the psychologist of the team, on the one hand it is a function that is quite usual for those who play a leadership role in any group, on the other hand it represents an additional degree of responsibility that he does not share with anyone because within the staff there is no sports psychologist.

This absence, obviously, is not of today but it is a constant with some exceptions. Currently, to my knowledge, only Juventus and Verona have one working with players.
It doesn’t get any better in the youth sport and in soccer schools where they are quite common but often with marginal roles.

We are very far from the role that the psychologist plays in the US club. Robert Nideffer and Kenneth Ravizza have worked for years with many American football and baseball teams. The coach behavior evaluation system in youth baseball was introduced over 40 years ago now. In soccer in the UK, Chris Harwood proposed a soccer academy coach development program based on psychological characteristics, which is now used by soccer clubs and is widespread in the English-speaking world.

In our country we are stuck with the experiences of individual professionals, few in number, and in any case the interest of clubs is scarce.

Why are there no reactions from Juventus players after the defeat against Verona?

Mental coaching in the Romanian football

It’s not easy to accept that the main limits of the team performance are in the psychological area. Giani Boldeanu talks about this subject in the Romanian football.

”Jucătorii români refuză să discute cu psihologul”. Verdictul dur al lui Giani Boldeanu, mental coach. ”N-au mentalitate de învingători”

1% of football players salary for social responsibility causes

Higuain and Dybala: it’s difficult to play always at the best

Higuain and Dybala are the latest example of how two champions should be in crisis for the pressure due to the demand to play at their best, that for a striker means to score goals. This request is the essence of their work but that sometimes collide with the way of thinking and living the emotions. In fact, the need to always match the expectations of the club, fans, media and sponsors stimulates on the one hand, a pleasant feeling to feel important and valued so highly positive but of course it has a cost, consisting in the duty to live up to this request. This creates tensions which result in a negative effect on performance and, therefore, this explains the goals not scored by Higuain and the penalties missed by Dybala. Episodes easy to overcome said Allegri, Juventus coach, focusing on the next matches. Personally, I think these guys  need someone who can listen to their fears, teaches the players to accept these moments as part of what they do and  teaches them to stay focused on their skills when they get the doubts and concerns. Usually this is the work of the psychologist: The family or friend role is relevant. In fact,they have to provide a psychological and physical context in which to be able to be themselves and not the champions, but it will not help to solve these problems.

Mourinho winning mind

Lead the men - “Football for me is a human science, above all else.”

The coach is a global leader - “A coach has to be everything: a tactical, motivator, leader, methodologist, psychologist.” “A teacher at the university told me ‘a coach who knows only football is not a top level. Every coach knows football, the difference lies in other areas. He was a teacher of philosophy. I got the message.”

Football is global - “I do not do physical work. I defend the globalization of work. I do not know where it starts the physical part and end the psychological and tactical side.”

Customize communication – Adapting communication to each individual it is the most difficult task of a coach and he has to know how to challenge the players’ emotions.

Know the men - “There are many ways to become a great manager … but above all I think the hardest thing is to lead men with different cultures, minds and quality.” At Inter conceded a holiday to Wesley Sneijder who was exhausted. “All the other coaches have spoken only of training,” said Sneijder. “He sent me to the beach. So I went to Ibiza for three days. When I came back, I was willing to kill and die for him.”

Men are chosen - He believes in a 24-team players because this shows that every one of them has been chosen and will play a significant role for the team even if they are not famous.

Stimulate the players to understand -He stresses the tactical work, the coach is not a ‘transmitter’ and the team is not a ‘receiver’. He uses the method of ‘guided discovery’; the players reveal how to play based on the information they receive, from practical situations that will lead them on a certain path. ”

Constant focus on the mind - He is focused on the emotional , cognitive and interpersonal players’ dimensions. In this way the players, instead to follow the instructions as the pupils at school, develop the play ideas led by this mental approach to the game.

Teamwork and collective awareness - “I work with the players on a daily basis and I know those who are committed to the maximum are able to do well, while those that are not working properly are not able to play well. You play as you work, and I can say it straight to each player.

Working with intensity - Short training sessions and the presence of the ball encourage players to work at their maximum level of motivation and energy. He constantly pay attention to the mistakes and provoking the players if they make mistakes repeatedly.

Alex Ferguson’s winning rules

Alex Ferguson represents the history of football and a model of leadership studied all over the world. Below his ideas as he has told in his autobiography.
The construction of a football team - It must start from the youth activity, in order to build continuity in supplying players to the first team. The players grow together, producing a bond that, in turn, creates a spirit.
Inspire people to improve - “I have always been very proud to see the younger players as they develop.” In this way the work of a coach is similar to that of a teacher. He teaches the technical skills, the winning mentality and better people. This determines in young loyalty to the Club, since they are aware of the opportunities they have received.
Plan the future - The are players more than 30 years, those between 23 to 30 years and the younger. The success of a team is about four year cycle, and then changes are needed. The aim is to always know what is the team that you’ll want to have with an advance of a few years and decide accordingly.
Each training session is important – It must always be maintained a high training standards. They are important the motivational talks, team building, all the preparation of the team and talk about tactics. Do not ever allow an unsatisfactory training session. What you see in training occurs on the playing field. You always need quality, concentration, intensity and speed.
The talent always works hard – From the talents it must be expected a lot more than the others during the workouts. They should prove to be the best.
The locker room atmosphere must be always safeguarded – You have to wonder if someone is spoiling the atmosphere of the locker room, the team’s performance, and the control of the players and staff. If this happens you have to cut the cord. There is absolutely no other way. It does not matter if the person is the best player in the world. The long-term vision of the club is more important than any individual, and the coach has to be the most important in the club.
Encourage players - Nobody likes to be criticized, and there are few players who improve with criticism.  They should be encouraged. For a player, like any human being, there is nothing better than listening “Well done.” They are the two best words to listen. It is not necessary to use superlatives.
Correct the mistakes immediately - At the same time, in the locker room, it is necessary to indicate the mistakes when the players do not meet the expectations. This is when the criticism is important, immediately after the match, without waiting on Monday. After this time, you think about the next game and everything begins again.
In training we need to repeat – During the sessions the technical skills and tactics must be repeated.  The aim of each session is to learn and improve. This must be done even if the players can think “Here we go again”, because these repetitions help to win.
Manchester United style - Be positive, adventurous and take risks.
The observation - It’s an essential element of the skill management. The ability to see things is the key, more precisely, it refers to the ability to see things that you do not expect to see.
Change is a rule to follow - Typically who win does not think to change. It’s just the opposite. “We had to be successful — there was no other option for me—and I would explore any means of improving. I continued to work hard. I treated every success as my first. My job was to give us the best possible chance of winning. That is what drove me.”

Lazio: desperate tears

 LAZIO PRESS – There are pictures that are worth a thousand words and the tears in Lazio is one of them. “Tears are a desperate behavior, the players are no longer able to do what before they could naturally”, says the sports psychologist, Alberto Cei. As reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport, and it’s a team  that no longer knows what to do to get out of this crisis. Here is the solution to the problem: “The tension does not help, it should be loose, but it’s easier said than achieved. The bulk of the pressure comes from the outside, from an environment that demands better results and there is not a solution. Something must be done within the group, but it’s not simple. “